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Render Animal Fat for Healthful Homemade Lard or Tallow


| 3/21/2020 5:44:00 PM


Rendered Tallow Spoon And Jar
People are finally coming around to the idea that fat is a necessary and healthful part of the diet, and it is high time. These “healthy fats” are not just the plant-based oils so often touted, such as olive oil — traditional animal fats are also healthy fats.

Benefits of Animal Fats in the Human Diet

Before food became industrialized and processed, cultures all over the world used rendered animal fats in much of their cooking. Fat is essential for many processes in the body, including digestion, hormone balance, satiety, blood sugar regulation, and nutrient absorption. Animal fats are superior to many plant oils, because of their specific fatty acid profiles and the minimal processing required to make them.

These benefits can be obtained by eating meat with fat still attached, or when the fat is rendered into a solid, pure fat for cooking. Either source provides a variety of fatty acids needed by the body, including saturated, monounsaturated, and well as polyunsaturated fatty acids, in the form of omega-3 fats, conjugated linoleic acid and arachidonic acid. Animal foods, especially the fat, also offer cholesterol, which is the backbone of the reproductive hormones and, along with saturated fats, also support brain health and fertility.

Saturated fat and cholesterol, vilified for the past several decades, are once again part of the healthy fat conversation as the science has caught up with what traditional people always knew: Animal fats are a prized food. To get the most nutrient-dense and ethical sources of your fat, and all animal foods, choose those soured from animals raised outside and fed a natural diet. Exclusively grain-fed animals do not offer the same nutrient density or ratio of healthy fats as those raised in a natural, rather than industrial, way.

Home Rendering Support Local Economies

Besides its healthfulness, animal fat is so important, because it can be obtained and made locally, rather than relying on transportation from far away. Other healthy fats, such as coconut oil, require many more food miles to reach your kitchen than tallow made at home from cows raised on a local farm.



I say we start to treat our fats and oils like our meat and produce, giving them the locavore treatment that they deserve. Finding local, pastured beef or pork fat may take some searching, but is very possible. Start by asking meat producers at the farmer’s market or search online for local farms that do direct sales, and you will likely find either lard or tallow that has already been rendered, or trimmed fat you can render at home yourself.



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